Xavier Becerra

Data privacy bill faces long odds as states, EU move ahead
Most tech companies agree laws on how to collect and use consumer data are essential, but the specifics are still being debated

Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., right, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., are seen in the basement of the Capitol before the Senate policy luncheons on Sept. 25, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers want to pass a federal data privacy bill before 2020 to put Washington on par with Europe and ahead of several U.S. states. But those efforts could be delayed because of differences between technology companies and Congress over how powerful the law should be and how it should be structured.

A delay in enacting a uniform federal law could leave technology giants and startup app makers trying to meet a latticework of standards set by multiple regulations passed by many states as well as a growing international set of rules being modeled after the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Companies also could be liable for fines and face consumer lawsuits allowed by state laws.

Stacey Abrams to give Democratic SOTU response
The 2018 Georgia gubernatorial nominee may be a Senate contender in 2020

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams will be giving the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address next week. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Fresh off her 2018 gubernatorial loss and ahead of a possible 2020 Senate bid, Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams will be giving the party’s response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address next week.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., announced the selection Tuesday, a week before the address, which had been delayed in the fight over the partial government shutdown. 

Sen. Kamala Harris Aide Resigns After $400,000 Sexual Harassment Settlement Emerges
California senator did not know about the lawsuit, her office says

A top aide to Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., resigned Wednesday after a settlement for $400,000 over a lawsuit levying gender harassment allegations against him surfaced. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A longtime aide to Sen. Kamala Harris resigned Wednesday after another news publication asked about a $400,000 sexual harassment and retaliation settlement stemming from his time working for the California Department of Justice.

The Sacramento Bee first reported this story.

Want to Build a More Diverse Capitol Hill? Start With the Staff
Congress has a diversity problem, and I had a front-row view

If we’re going to grow the pool of diverse candidates for Hill jobs, we have to start by directly addressing the barriers that young people of color might face, Perez writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Diversity is a driving force behind a changing America: People of color now represent almost 40 percent of the U.S. population. Yet somehow, a new Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies report shows that they make up merely 13.7 percent of senior staffers in the U.S. House of Representatives.

That means our elected officials’ legislative directors, communications directors, and chiefs of staff are overwhelmingly white, even in offices representing states with large Latino and African-American populations.

Dems Rip Page From GOP Playbook to Fight Trump’s Pollution Rollback
Markey: ‘We’ll use every tool available to block the Trump administration’s U-turn on fuel efficiency’

Sen. Dianne Feinstein says “Californians have a right to breathe clean air, and we’re not giving that up to President Trump without a fight.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats opposed to the Trump administration’s proposal to freeze fuel efficiency standards have limited options to fight back in the halls and floor of Congress, but the one option they do have comes straight from the GOP deregulatory playbook.

Once finalized, Democrats, led by top members on the Environment and Public Works Committee, plan to introduce a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn the Trump administration’s fuel efficiency strategy, Sen. Edward J. Markey told reporters on a phone conference in response to the administration’s proposal Thursday.

Staff Up Congress Aims to Tackle Diversity From the Top
Noel Perez says congressional staff should more resemble constituents

Noel Perez, a leader of Staff Up Congress, worked for former California Rep. Xavier Becerra, now the state’s attorney general. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

What’s one way to increase diversity on the Hill? Start at the senior-staffer level. 

That’s according to the group Staff Up Congress, a joint campaign between the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, which focuses on opportunities for Latinos, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which focuses on opportunities for African-Americans.

Supreme Court Sides With Pregnancy Centers in Free Speech Case
California law had required centers to provide information about abortion

Abortion opponents demonstrate outside the Supreme Court on Monday, a day before it overturned a California law that required pregnancy centers to provide information about free or low-cost abortions offered under state programs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled against a California law that required medical centers that primarily serve pregnant women to inform patients about free or low-cost abortions under state health care programs — a decision that some lawmakers warned could cause problems for similar health and safety laws.

In a 5-4 opinion, the court’s five conservative justices sided with the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates and other centers with religious affiliations in the case that pitted free speech against regulations that require disclosure of health laws.

Democrats Expect Pre-Existing Conditions Defense Will Resonate in 2018
Schumer highlighting DOJ decision not to defend pillars of 2010 health care law

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., says his conference will keep focusing on health care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats have seized on the Justice Department’s announcement that it will not defend the 2010 health care law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, sensing an opening for the midterms.

House Democratic leaders have scheduled a Wednesday afternoon press conference to push against the determination announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and that opposition looks to be a key pillar of the strategy of Senate Democrats and their supporters going into the fall.

Gomez on What He Learned From Being a Staffer for a Latina Member
California Democrat started his political career working for Rep. Hilda Solis

Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., chats with staffers in his office. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Jimmy Gomez learned firsthand how to network in bars, focus on the job and navigate the Hill’s degree-clogged pool of talent.

After graduating from Harvard in 2003, he was a staffer for Rep. Hilda L. Solis, a fellow California Democrat who served from 2001 to 2009.

House, Administration Settle Lawsuit Over Health Law Payments
Separate health law case upholds ability for attorneys general to intervene

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., applauded a court ruling that settled a lawsuit over the powers of the House and executive branch. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House of Representatives, the White House and several states on Wednesday settled a lawsuit over appropriations for the 2010 health law, resolving years of fighting over the balance of powers between the branches of government.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit dismissed an appeal of an earlier ruling, which found that the Obama administration had been illegally spending money under the 2010 health care law without an appropriation from Congress. The settlement confirmed that ruling and left open the question of whether the House has standing to sue the executive branch.